BA English Language and French

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
The Cinema of Michael Haneke

Unit code FREN30141
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by French Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit analyses the cinematic oeuvre of the leading European filmmaker Michael Haneke, whose controversial films have consistently attracted critical praise since the 1980s. Students will study in detail six of Haneke’s feature-length cinematic releases (two German-language and four French-language), all available with English subtitles, beginning with Der siebente Kontinent (1989) and ending with Happy End (2017). Classes will focus on the politics and ethics of Haneke’s filmmaking, interrogate the use of violence in his films, and consider his sustained critique of white bourgeois Western European societies. Assessment for the course is conducted in groups, and is inspired by a fictional real-world scenario: the proposal and planning of a film season at HOME in Manchester.


  • to familiarise students with film studies terminology and key concepts of film theory in order to enable students to analyse and interpret Haneke’s films in depth ¿

  • to provide an overview of the different themes that Haneke has deployed across his oeuvre

  • to develop groupwork skills via the preparation of flipped classroom seminar elements and the completion of assessment tasks

  • to equip students with a range of practical and transferable skills via the creation of a proposal, promotional trailer and brochure for a film season at HOME in Manchester

  • to encourage students to reflect on and analyse critically their own development as learners throughout the course.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:



Following an introductory lecture in Week 1, six of Haneke’s cinematic releases to date will be studied in detail via both recorded lectures and accompanying seminars (also comprising flipped classroom elements).


These films are:

Der siebente Kontinent (1989)

Funny Games (1997)

La Pianiste (2001)

Caché (2005)

Amour (2012)

Happy End (2017)


NB. As part of their research and planning for their assessment tasks, groups will be expected to watch additional films from Haneke’s wider cinematic oeuvre.

In subsequent weeks, several workshops will help students plan their three assessment tasks, supported by a series of short accompanying videos focusing on methodology to support the assessment tasks.


A site visit to HOME will also be scheduled, featuring a talk by HOME’s Head of Film.

Teaching and learning methods

Recorded lectures (7 hours);

Seminars incorporating flipped classroom elements where learning is led by students (16 hours);

Assessment task methodology workshops (8 hours);

Visit to HOME and talk by its Head of Film (2 hours).

Extensive digitised material, links to relevant online resources, and all class slides will be placed on Blackboard. Students will also be set weekly tasks via Blackboard as preparation for classes and assessment.


Medium of Language:  English

Knowledge and understanding

  • Analyse each of Haneke’s films in depth
  • Assess the major characteristics of Haneke’s oeuvre as a whole
  • Provide a rationale to justify proposing a film season
  • Design a film trailer to promote a film season
  • Produce a brochure to accompany a film season, including a series of critical notes on the films programmed.

Intellectual skills

  • Use appropriate film studies terminology to analyse Haneke’s films and apply relevant film theory
  • Demonstrate skills of intellectual reasoning developed via groupwork
  • Provide the rationale for a film season proposal inspired by Haneke’s cinematic oeuvre
  • Understand how to devise a trailer to promote a film season
  • Compile a film season brochure comprising critical notes on the films programmed.

Practical skills

  •  Research and plan a film season proposal
  • Devise and deliver a trailer to promote a film season
  • Design and produce a film season brochure
  • Analyse critically the films programmed using an appropriate level of academic writing
  • Demonstrate how working in groups has enhanced their knowledge and understanding.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate powers of analysis by communicating complex questions verbally and visually
  • Manage time effectively when working in groups
  • Design and deliver medium-specific material (proposal; trailer; brochure)
  • Provide an intellectual rationale for organising a cultural event
  • Reflect critically upon their development as learners.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will be able to analyse complex texts and articulate an informed, critical perspective..
Group/team working
Students will be able to evidence how their knowledge, understanding and skills have been enhanced by groupwork.
Students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by existing literature on Haneke and the primary corpus of films studied.
Project management
Students will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Students will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)

Film season written proposal (one per group)

Formative and summative

1500 words


Film season trailer (one per group)

Formative and summative

2 minutes


Film season brochure (including critical notes on each film programmed) (one per group)


4000 words


Self-reflection dossier (one per student)


2000 words




Assessment task


ACW essay

3000 words


Feedback methods



Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Oral and written feedback on proposal

Formative and summative

Oral and written feedback on trailer

Formative and summative

Written feedback on brochure


Written feedback on self-reflection dossier



Recommended reading


Brunette, Peter, Michael Haneke (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2010)

Grundmann, Roy (ed.), A Companion to Michael Haneke (Oxford: Blackwell, 2010) 

McCann, Ben, and David Sorfa (eds), The Cinema of Michael Haneke: Europe Utopia (London: Wallflower, 2011)

Price, Brian, and John David Rhodes (eds), On Michael Haneke (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2010)

Wheatley, Catherine, Michael Haneke’s Cinema: The Ethic of the Image (Oxford: Berghahn, 2009)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Joseph Mcgonagle Unit coordinator

Additional notes


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